Open Friday With Dick and Max

Long-time readers know I dislike censoring practices in media, including banning commenters on blogs or deleting posts. I will mention that one of Max’s he said/he said screeds went into the trash a little while ago. He knows why: don’t bring Bible quotes off-topic into a subject other people may find otherwise edifying. He has his own blog for that.

Dick brought a more personal message that I saved here before deleting from the thread, with some comments:

Todd: You must not believe that God wrote and inspired every jot and tittle of the word of God. you say it in your own words by saying it in you own meaning, changing the truth for a lie as you show you ignorance.

God certainly didn’t write it in English, even the new King James English. Max also falls into the trap of fundamentalism, which I see as a symptom not of Christian loyalty but more a product of the Enlightenment.

My sister married a Catholic who was an only child, a mommies boy. He never saw his Father and Mother hug or kiss or hug. My sister saw affection in our family; we were always hugging each other as a family. She needed that. Her husband didn’t. after two children he cut her off. NOTHING. My sister cried to my mother. Her mother told her to ask the priest on what to do? She did and guess what He told her to do. Go have yourself a fling on Saturday night.

So the lesson here is that some Catholics are gravely imperfect. They don’t represent Christianity, nor their tradition very well. Don’t marry them. Don’t listen to their advice.

Dick, however, comes to this blog and comments frequently in spells. He knows I am a Catholic. I have to ask the questions openly: why do you bother? What brought you here? Don’t you find lower-hanging fruit in the real world more enticing for your brand of persuasion?

If my brother in law would have been taught about all enjoyment is all right in the marriage Bed, the preist would not have told her it was all right to fornicate .

Thing is, none of us were there to listen to this counsel. Dick admits he heard it second- or third-hand. When we hear what amounts to gossip, we can concede that “have a fling” was what was heard. It might not have been what was said.

There is no restriction in the marriage bed for Born again couples, who have the nature of God and all things would be done out of AGAPE LOVE. I never said cutting or anything like that was all right.

Unfortunately, a lot of Christian men have taken this passage and used it to abrogate other passages that advise tenderness, respect, and putting oneself second to the beloved. Men who labelled themselves Christian have raped their wives, and done worse, and justified themselves. These men are no better than idolaters and self-worshippers, having left Christ and his grace far, far behind.

The Bible I have no problem with. It is the intemperate and ignorant interpretations of it that bother me.

Over to the commentariat; I’m out of this one.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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20 Responses to Open Friday With Dick and Max

  1. Atheist Max says:

    First – Thank You Todd for allowing conversations to continue on Open Threads. Okay….

    “The Bible I have no problem with. It is the intemperate and ignorant interpretations of it that bother me.”

    There is no manual on how to read the Bible – it claims to be THE manual by itself. YET We are talking about something so incredibly useless for direction it cannot even tell us what it is supposed to be used for. Yet we keep going over this ground.

    In any case, I am no fundamentalist. Jesus is:

    Jesus was completely literalist: “Go and do likewise”
    You think that is not literal?

    JESUS LITERALLY LIED ABOUT PRAYER – HERE ARE 11 LIES:

    JESUS does not exclude ANY wish from coming true from simply wishing hard enough.
    He was wrong 100%.

    1. “And whatsoever you ask, that will I do.” – JESUS (John 14:13)
    2. “And whatever you ask in prayer, you shall receive.” – JESUS (Matthew 21:2)
    3. “ALL things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” – JESUS (Matthew 21:22)
    4. “ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” – JESUS (John 15:7)
    5. “what things so ever ye desire..believe..and ye shall have them.” – JESUS (Mark 11:24)
    6. “Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” – JESUS (John 16:24)
    7. “ he shall have whatsoever he saith.” – JESUS (Mark 11:23)
    8. “thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly” – JESUS (Matthew 6:6)
    9. “Whatsoever we ask…we have the petitions that we desired of him.” – (John 5:14-15)
    10. “IF two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them.” – JESUS (Matthew 18:19)
    11. “In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” – JESUS (Mark 16:17)

    Jesus is completely and profoundly literal.

    Think about the word “WHATSOEVER” and think of how many faithful parents prayed for their children to grow back their amputated limbs in the 2000 years since Jesus made those promises.
    To deny these comments from Jesus are literal is to be complicit in a cruel joke on millions of loving parents.

    I’m asking for honesty here. If Jesus didn’t literally mean the things he said, what are you Catholics doing all this work for?

  2. Todd says:

    Thanks for the comment, Max.

    Twenty centuries ago, Jesus said literal things. He also used a variety of “fictional” forms to get across ideas. Parables. Rabbinical exaggeration. Often, you quote a story in which a character does something that is objectively unchristian. It’s sort of like calling newspapers un-American for reporting 9/11. As a Christian who thinks he understands when Jesus is telling a story, it seems rather silly to call him out for describing unscrupulous, bad, or mistaken characters. His purpose is not to condone cheaters or autocrats.

    Here and there, Jesus also said things that are troubling. One thing to keep in mind is that, as you know, the Gospels were all oral traditions before they were written down. Maybe people heard things wrong. Maybe they had their own agenda. I know that my personal validity as a Christian does not depend on embracing every iota of the Bible narrative. I also wouldn’t shy away from asking God the tough questions in the afterlife: what about homosexuals, what about the divorced and remarried, what about women priests. I have a human curiosity about all that.

    As for your list of lies, some of these passages have very specific contexts. You’ve taken them all out of context and lumped them together as one kind of “promise.” They are not.

    We know from experience that God does not answer all requests. Are all requests prayers? Does God expect us to meet him part way, and not rely on him as a magician? I have no idea why some prayers are answered and others not. If someone (such as yourself) is annoyed, bothered, or p***ed off God hasn’t answered prayers, take it up with the Almighty. Get mad at him. Speaking for myself, I take intercessory prayer very seriously, and I don’t lean on God terribly often to fix my problems. I figure there is some bigger plan in the works, so I’m just going to pray for serenity, courage, and wisdom. As for giving my daughter a fourth heart chamber, it would be nice if the Lord could conjure that up. I would be grateful if he did. But I’m not going to hang my hat on the notion.

    And lastly, there is no claim in the bible that it is “the” manual. It is not. It is a holy book, or rather a collection of books. It is not a manual.

    • Atheist Max says:

      Todd, Thanks for a serious engagement on this matter:

      “I take intercessory prayer very seriously, and I don’t lean on God terribly often to fix my problems.”

      So did I, as you know. Once upon a time. But my own compassionate, empathetic internal scream on December 14, 2012 was my absolute breaking point. If God intercedes in this world (at all) his intercession is nothing at all like what the Gospel promises. That is a dark mark against the gospel, not against the one who prays.

      Secondly, we are stuck with a god who provides exactly the most immoral kind of intercession – the one which adds up to something like this:

      A father is watching his two 4-year twin boys in a playground across the street from a Hospital.
      One boy suddenly cuts himself badly. The child will die within 20 minutes if something is not done immediately. The other boy weeps over his dying brother but is too little to know how to help. Neither boy understands what to do.

      The father runs to the two boys – he does not stop the bleeding and he does not rush across the street to the hospital to get doctors who could save the bleeding child easily.
      INSTEAD, the dad INTERCEDES ONLY by comforting the boy who is healthy as the other boy dies of blood loss.

      The dad watches one son die in agony while he consoles the other who watches through tears but who otherwise has no life-threatening problem.

      The father’s actions can only be immoral.
      That is how God dealt with the little children in Newtown, CT.
      If God interceded only to comfort the tears and thus he interceded immorally. If such a god can intercede on human affairs AT ALL but only does so in the immoral way
      such a God cannot be a moral arbiter of anything.

      THAT is how my God vanished after 49 years of devout belief. Suddenly.
      And it is why I cannot believe in a moral God. And that is why I cannot believe in a God who intercedes.

      TEARS of LOVE for the dying forced my brain to confront the immorality of God’s poor choice of intercession. I could no longer believe in ANY intercession by a god at all.

      I hope my story forces someone around here to at least consider the deep immorality and harm created by these empty promises of the JESUS character.

      • Todd says:

        I respect that you have placed yourself as more moral than God. I imagine that is more insulting to believers than to God himself. I also observe a difference between denying the existence of God, and your persistence in declaring your moral superiority. That takes a lot of chutzpah, and without sarcasm, I wish you the best for it.

      • Atheist Max says:

        Todd, there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that my morality is superior to the morality of the God of the Bible.

        And I can improve the morality of the Bible dramatically with a simple pair of scissors:

        “Kill homosexuals” – (Leviticus 20:13)

        “the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us…they do not please God, and are contrary to all men…for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.” (1 Thessalonians 2:14)

        You might say I took something out of context. It deserves no context. These are shameful example’s of God’s immorality and add to the unlikeliness of his existence.

  3. Dick Martin says:

    In the Bible God tells us about a subject; like Predestination and He comments to explain about how it connects to who , what , when , where , why. of that context. Later your questioning a different subject in reference to adding to the definition . this could happen several times . each time the meaning gets clearer. for instance :
    1 Corinthians 13:11-12
    When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
    For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
    2 Corinthians 3:16-18
    Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
    Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
    But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. These two scriptures by themselves are not as clear a meaning. Together they add to completing the meaning. The meaning of an individual sentence could be clearer. a jigsaw puzzle while putting it together is not that clear. I hesitate to write long comments.

    • Atheist Max says:

      Dick,

      You said,
      “The Lord is the Spirit…there is liberty…. glory of the Lord”
      This is white noise to me.

      I call attention to passages in the bible because Christians invent their god from its raw materials. They need to be examined to determine if any of it is actually healthy.

      You highlight bible passages thinking they are more than fiction to me – but they are not.
      all I see are other examples of bad raw material.

  4. Dick Martin says:

    Max: You will never experience Freedom. You are a slave of your god (satan). You have faith alright —-believing in you god of deception. he does exists. You will see the Real God of Love someday (judgment) and fall in love with Him, then to be cast into utter darkness and torment. Your Heart will cry out to Him for all eternity; but to late, you’ve made your decision. Sorry.

    • Atheist Max says:

      It is flabbergasting.
      How does one penetrate such a philosophy? How can I reach through that smoke screen cloud of absolutist claims to even discuss questions seriously?

      I do not believe in Satan. Now, you are saying, “of course, that is what Atheist Max would say.” But I really mean it.

      Why would I deny Satan so much if I had ‘faith’ in him? This is the sad, dangerous, circular dualism set up by religion. And it takes an enormous amount of work for people to think their way out of it.

      Here is the dishonest, absolutist set up:
      JESUS = LOVE
      SATAN = Anything that is not JESUS

      No wonder Ex-Christians like myself so rarely get into long conversations with religious people. Atheists like me have been through a Hell on earth to arrive at the liberation that is Atheism.

      I say
      LOVE = LOVE
      Why do you insist on the middle man? What does it add? I have no idea what Jesus or Satan are and I have faith in neither. I believe in LOVE.

  5. Kathy says:

    Max – I am so sorry for your pain. I wish there were answers to make sense of all that is evil in this world. But as a manual, the Word is sometimes difficult to understand and I find it really hard to make peace with some of what I read. I do not understand God’s will. I have to trust that eventually I will understand more – probably not enough to satisfy me before I die. But Im ok with that because I do see a lot of good in the world. I see people whose kind acts seem to be divinely inspired. I have seen recovery from illness that cant be explained by physical law and relationships healed that I thought broken beyond repair. Love is powerful – prayer is powerful. Not because if I pray hard enough, I’ll get what I want. God’s answers arent always what we want or expect. Prayer is powerful because it centers me and I am focused on my Creator’s love for his child – if I am focused there, I can be lifted away from what scares me or depresses me – I can find perspective. Bless you Max.

    • Atheist Max says:

      Thanks, Kathy.
      My ‘pain’ is more of a challenge – not a real pain, per se.
      How does one honestly discuss the contradictions in religion? Why does it take an outsider to see how confined the conversation is? Why can’t a believer see his own bubble? – walls he alone has built.

      If Jesus is real, and I mean this sincerely, He cannot possibly object to any freewheeling conversation about His statements, parables, sayings, decrees or anything else one might want to discuss.

      IF God is real and good and decent, then there is absolutely nothing to fear in not believing in him. Gravity exists whether we believe in it or not. Same for God – right? So what on earth is everyone so afraid of?

  6. Kathy says:

    Dear Max – I think that contradictions are there to provoke thought. God wants/needs us to know him and how much or how often would we talk to Him or consider Him if everything was simple and clear? Reading and “studying” the Bible is one way to figure out why I believe, what I believe and who He is to me personally. And who I am to Him. I am so far from having it all figured out. But if God’s intention was to reveal himself to humanity by being in our midst as Jesus the carpenter/rabbi, then I dont think that the historical Jesus would have any problem at all with conversations about his teaching. The important thing is the conversation – just having it makes God more present in the world.

    What I fear most is being separated from God and vulnerable. That is my definition of Hell – forget the fiery lake and torment – to be apart from God is hell. I have to believe that God is big enough to find a way to reconcile with all His children before He is finished … but what is the point in waiting? Why dont you come back to Him now and pursue your conversation … maybe you will find some of the answers you are looking for.

    So, anyway …. peace be with you Max.

    • Atheist Max says:

      Why dont you come back to Him now and pursue your conversation

      But where does one find the God who vanished? Mustn’t one ‘pretend him into existence’?

      The traditional, comforting stage is set:
      The Altar. The pews. The prayer candles burn in dedicated rows of blood red glass, their flickering reflections in the Holy Water.

      But someone really needs God to intercede as it is written he would – and that is where it all falls apart. Because he won’t or he can’t. The star of this stage never shows except to console the disappointed. And it is very convenient for Him that this sort of intercession is invisible too.

      I’m more interested in why I ever thought I wanted such consolation or believed it to be real.

    • Atheist Max says:

      Thanks for your reply. Peace to you too.

  7. Dick Martin says:

    Max.
    Matthew 7:13-14
    “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.
    Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. This is God Himself speaking to You. Six Billion people on the Earth; each has to make a choice of taking the Narrow or Wide Road. He tells us that it’s the narrow road that leads to Life but few find it. You have to Seek him sincerely with a pure Heart. Wide is the Road to destruction and many go in by it. You can’t be born into a family; that if you a member of that family or a member of a Church, or you pay your way to the gate keeper ,none of which will get you in. This is why you must be Born Again individually. I don’t know how many took the wide Rd; multiple Billions probably. Jesus said that you can only make it to Heaven through Me. There is no other way. It’s not who you are but Who’s you are. Many call themselves Christians but are not in the family. It’s understandable if you study Paul’s Epistles.

    • Todd says:

      We also have the Lord’s witness in the Gospels.

      Matthew 25:37-40 suggests those who will serve the Lord and not know him explicitly: “Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry …, or thirsty … a stranger … or naked … sick or in prison … ?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”

      Remember also the response of Jesus to the chief priests and elders after his entry into Jerusalem, “Truly I tell you, the tax-collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you.” (Matthew 21:31b)

      Jesus is the way, but he suggests a number of believers and religious folk will be surprised by some of the population who will be counted among the blessed. Jesus mentioned “born again” to Nicodemus (John 3) but he doesn’t explicitly prescribe Christian baptism–that is now many Christians interpret it, but as you rightly point out, Dick, an individual response is needed–who knows how that will turn out. It is God’s decision, not yours or mine.

  8. Dick Martin says:

    The NEW testament replaces the Old ; That’s why it’s called Old.
    Hebrews 8:13
    In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. This is Jesus’s will ( His Testament).The New Testament starts in Acts 2. All that applies to us today started then.
    Hebrews 9:16-17
    For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
    For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives. The four Gospels ended the Old testament. A new dispensation began with the new birth. Paul refers to His writings as the Gospel of GRACE.
    Hebrews 8:6-7
    But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.
    For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. The dispensation of the Law ended when Jesus died for Born again believers. But for those who are not Born Again the Law continues even today.
    1 John 5:12-13
    He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
    These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. What does it mean ;( He who has the son) ?

  9. Dick Martin says:

    Todd: God has already Made His decision, and He moved on it. It’s up to Us to decide where you want to spend Eternity. All things are based on whether you have Jesus as your substitute. He covers ALL your sins Past Present and future. as stated: ;
    Hebrews 10:11-14
    And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.
    But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God,
    from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.
    For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. If you are IN HIM ;
    Romans 8:1-2
    There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
    For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. So it is about the reign of God. You have to agree with God’s word = VICTORY

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